Minorities in the Age of Globalisation
Minority is so to say a “cohort concept” or a concept which envelops a cluster of issues. Far from being a matter of the past, minorities have become a very actual issue affecting the politics of many nations. The approach taken towards minorities is so important because the future shape of a nation and its destiny often depends on this. Globalisation has further problematised the issue of minorities and is changing its configuration, bringing in new experiences.
We hear strident voices of opposition and even rejection of minority rights. But a look at the global level will suggest how our world is trying to come to terms with this issue with ever new means. They include legal ones to protect the minorities by recognising their identity, culture, religion, and their rights to establish and maintain their institutions, and so on. The trajectory of the development shows that it will not be long before minority rights become part of the international law binding on all the states. Ofcourse, there is room for fine-tuning and negotiating within the framework of the Constitution. However, a summary opposition and rejection of minority rights can be sustained neither by reason nor by global experience.
Minority rights may not be looked at either as concessions or as defence, but must be viewed as realisation of democracy in pluralistic societies and as a way to bring about social equity. For this, we need to affirm basically the right of communities, which cannot be reduced to individual rights. These communities are not to be reduced simply to religious communities. We need to focus today specially on the economically, socially and culturally marginalised minorities. The special provisions in terms of reservation or affirmative action are in keeping with the democratic spirit, and the sense of social justice that should animate the nation. Finally, the thorny question of Uniform Civil Code for certain religious communities as the Muslims in India, deserves to be considered with historical perspective and with due account to the need of a certain legal pluralism for a country of such diversity as India. Uniform Civil Code is a project and a process.
This Article Is A Part Of The Utopia Series. Utopia is not an unreal figment of imagination, or a chimera we chase in futility. It is the projection of another real order of things, a different set of values, and a new shape of the world and society. The suppressed identities, women, minorities, Dalits and tribals and all those who are marginalised in any way project their utopias. Utopia leaps out from the shoulder of may struggles to glimpse and experience the new and the different. Critique is indissociable from utopias.
Article Analyst, FSA